Care is NOT a Factor and Yes, Your Model Matters

A model is the outworking of a philosophical disposition and yes, the model matters. Philosophy matters! How one is oriented towards others matters! This is the foundation of ethics. How we use power matters! If a model dehumanises persons then yes, the philosophy and model matter.

Trivialising philosophy as ‘navel gazing’ is both immature and unhelpful for critical thinking in risk. Similarly, the language of right and best is irrelevant rather, the language should be about moral philosophy and the nature of persons. The beginning of tackling risk is NOT the nature of safety but rather the being of persons.

If your ideology is zero, then the model that results is a focus on numerics and the brutalism of persons. If one’s language and focus is on organisational performance then the model that follows will be preoccupied with measurement, the great seduction of safety. If one understands humans as a factor in a system, then humans become sub-sets of systems. Such is the model of ‘human factors’.

If one bases an ethic on nihilism, behaviourism or engineering then, philosophy and models matter.

To suggest that philosophy doesn’t matter is both immature and blind. All outcomes and methods emerge from a methodology (philosophy). This is why the deontological ethic espoused by the AIHS BoK on Ethics is dangerous and dehumanising. One cannot separate a philosophy from either its understanding of power and how power is delivered. To do so is the naïve weakness of pragmatism.

Similarly, to suggest that care is a ‘factor’ hides the nature of the outcome. If something is a factor, what is it a factor of? Why can’t care itself be the outcome rather than a sub-set of something else? It is much better to speak of care as a disposition and orientation than a ‘factor’.

The language of ‘factor’ and ‘attribute’ is unfortunately associated with mathematical thinking and this shifts the focus away from persons and the humanising of persons if the outcome is the process of organising. It matters what methodology (philosophy) drives what method. Because, acting ethically towards others matters.

In SPoR, we are not interested in measurement of performance directed by the ideology of safety. Living and being is NOT for the purpose of safety, just as safety shouldn’t direct the way we think about living and being. When we use safety as an adjective, we usually toxify whatever follows.

Why is this so? Because safety is NOT the reason for being. Safety is not how living should be framed. Safety is neither how we should understand care nor how we organise in the face of risk. Indeed, the way (method) we tackle risk matters if it doesn’t result in the humanising of persons.


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